From Jiji Press
October 16 2021
TOKYO – Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is considering providing financial aid from fiscal 2022 to municipalities that open offices for consultations for people isolating themselves from society.
The ministry has requested 3.17 billion yen to cover related costs under the government’s budget for the fiscal year starting in April 2022.
According to a survey by the Cabinet Office, the estimated number of social recluses aged 15-39 stood at about 540,000 as of December 2015, and that of people in social isolation in the age group of 40-64 came to roughly 610,000 as of December 2018.
Prefectural governments and ordinance-designated large cities, with a population of at least 500,000, already have support offices for reclusive people. Certified social workers and clinical psychologists who are stationed at such offices provide recluses with support for self-reliance in cooperation with Hello Work public employment service centers and schools while offering consultations to their relatives.
Hoping that similar support offices will be set up at all core cities, with a population of 200,000 or more, the ministry plans to grant subsidies to each city to cover half of the necessary costs from fiscal 2022, sources familiar with the matter said. Smaller cities, as well as towns and villages, will also be eligible for the aid, the sources said.